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Signs of identity in Lady with a Fan by Diego Velazquez: costume and likeness reconsidered - Critical Essay
The Art Bulletin,  March, 2004  by Zahira Veliz
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Continued from page 7.

(3.) The descendants of the duchess of Chevreuse bore the alternative titles of duke of Luynes and duke of Chevreuse, reflecting their inheritance from her two marriages. The incident of Lucien Bonaparte's dinner party is recounted in Thomas de Luynes, Le Faubourg Saint-Germain: La rue Saint-Dominique (Paris: Musee Rodin, 1984), 54-67: "La presque totalite de la collection de tableaux, laissee sur place lorsque le duc se retira a Dampierre en 1792, fut mise en vente a l'hotel de Buillion par Paillet et Lebrun ... le nom des acquereures n'est pas connu. Mais Paillet et Lebrun avaient retenu quelques toiles que l'on vit reapparaitre au cours de ventes sous le Consulat et l'Empire. C'est ainsi que le duc de Luynes, alors senateur, allant diner chez Lucien Bonaparte a l'hotel de Brienne, rue Saint-Dominique, reconnut deux toiles que lui avaient appartenu 'et qu'il a ete oblige de vendre a des brocanteurs dans le temps des sequestres, des emprisonnements et des emigrations.' En apprenant cela, Lucien Bonaparte fit reporter les deux toiles chez le duc, mais la majorite de la collection ducale etait definitivement dispersee" (Nearly the entire collection of paintings, having lost their home when the duke retired to Dampierre in 1792, was sold at the Hotel de Buillion by Paillet and Lebrun ... the name of the buyers is unknown. But Paillet and Lebrun had retained some canvases, which were seen to reappear in the series of sales under the Consulate and the Empire. Thus it was that the duc de Luynes, now a senator, was dining at the home of Lucien Bonaparte ....).

(4.) Ibid., 55.

(5.) Lopez-Rey, 388-89. Ingamells, 411-14, records a comparison of the two paintings in 1981 from which it was concluded that the Chatsworth painting was a studio work, possibly by Juan Martinez del Mazo, Velazquez's son-in-law. It would be extremely valuable to compare the works again, however, since in 1981 the Chatsworth painting was covered by a darkened and yellowed layer of varnish, as it still is. The Wallace Collection portrait had been cleaned six years earlier, revealing the painting at its best.

(6.) Marcus Burke and Peter Cherry, Documents for the History of Collecting: Collections of Paintings in Madrid, 1601-1755 (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Trust, 1997), pt. 1, 837: "114 Un quadro de Una muger Con Velo negro Con punttas En la Caveza Con su Valona Vestido de Amarillo Listtado negro original de Diego Velazquez de Vara y tterzia de Caida y media Vara y sesma de ancho Con marco en mill Rs. 1000." The valuation was made by Claudio Coello and Jose Donoso, two prominent artists at the court of Charles II who should have been very familiar with Velazquez's hand. Their decided opinion that the portrait is an autograph work by Velazquez should not be discarded too lightly.

(7.) Burke and Cherry (as in n. 6), 835-37.

(8.) For an insightful and extensive discussion of the nature of the artist-sitter relationship in early modern portraiture, see Harry Berger Jr., Fictions of the Pose: Rembrandt against the Italian Renaissance (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2000). Arguments in this article were influenced particularly by Berger's discussion in chap. 2, "Politics: The Apparatus of Commissioning Portraits." Equally, some of the ideas presented by Joanna Woodall, "Introduction: Facing the Subject," in Portraiture: Facing the Subject (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1997), 1-25, helped to focus the view of Lady with a Fan presented in this article. Finally, Juan Molina Corton, "'Troppo vero': Aspectos filosoficos y morales de la retratistica velazquena," Cuadernos de Arte e Iconografia 7, no. 13 (1998): 195-217, provided insights into the intellectual climate of Velazquez's Spain that were fundamental to the interpretation of Lady with a Fan presented here.

(9.) Jose Antonio Maravall, Velazquez y el espiritu de la modernidad (Madrid: Alianza, 1987), 79.

(10.) For an assiduous exploration of the theatrical dimension in Baroque courtly portraits, see Emilie Gordenker, Anthony Van Dyck and the Representation of Dress in Seventeenth-Century Portraiture (Turnhout: Brepols, 2001). Although many of the details of Van Dyck's method of constructing identity are irrelevant in considering Velazquez, it is true that each artist was able "[t]hrough costume ... to present his patrons both as expressions of their ideals (and sometimes as actors or participants in a fiction), and as actual people" (48).

(11.) Juan Miguel Serrera, "Alonso Sanchez Coello y la mecanica del retrato de corte," in Alonso Sanchez Coello y el retrato en la corte de Felipe II, exh. cat., Museo del Prado, Madrid, 1990, 38-63.

(12.) Ibid., 43-44. See also David Davies, "The Anatomy of Spanish Habsburg Portraits," in The Ramon Perez de Ayala Lecture 1992 (London: Department of History of Art, University College, London, 1998).

(13.) Palomino, vol. 3, 214.

(14.) Don Juan Velez de Guevara, "Soneto," trans. Enriqueta Harris, Velazquez (Oxford: Phaidon Press, 1982), 200. For the Spanish text in context, see Palomino, vol. 3, 214: "Pincel, que a lo atrevido, y a lo fuerte / les robas la verdad, tan bien fingida, / que la ferocidad en ti es temida, / y el agrado parece que divierte. // Di: ?Retratas, o animas? Pues de suerte / esa copia real esta excedida, / que juzgara que el lienzo tiene vida, / como cupiera en lo insensible muerte. // Tanto el regio dominio, que ha heredado / el retrato publica esclarecido, / que aun el mandar la vista le ha eschuchado. // Y ya que en el poder es parecido, / lo mas dificultoso has imitado, que es mas facil el ser obedecido."

(15.) Francisco Pacheco, El arte de la pintura (1649), ed. Bonaventura Bassegoda i Hugas (Madrid: Ediciones Catedra, 1990), 524-26.

(16.) Ibid., 525.

(17.) For a brief, informative essay on this aspect of artistic thought in Spain, see Molina Corton (as in n. 8).

(18.) Pacheco (as in n. 15), 525-26.

(19.) The cleric and humanist Lorenzo van der Hamen y Leon, in the introduction to his devotional work Limosna, excelencias calidades, prerrogativas y frutos suyos (Granada: Baltasar de Bolibar, Imprenta Real, 1658), recognized the difficulty in endowing a painted image with abstract qualities when he wrote, "No son, como piensan algunos (error vulgar) los retratos, aunque de mano de Zeuxis, Apeles, Tintoreto el Ticiano, o de otro pinzel valiente los verdaderos. La Fama, el Nombre, la Opinion son los originales, los retratos parecidos ... y es la razon, porque aquellos no manifiestan mas que los perfiles, facciones, y colorido del semblante .... Estotros representan al vivo lo interior del hombre, sus afectos y pasiones, sus virtudes o vicios ...." (Portraits do not, as some may think [a common error] capture true likeness, though they be by the hand of Xeuxis, Apelles, Tintoretto or Titian, or some other valient brush. Reputation, name, and opinion comprise the original, and portraits capture appearances, because they [portraits] show only the contours, features, and coloring of the face, while these other [qualities] reveal the inner life of the man, his affections and passions, his virtues and vices ....).

(20.) Francisco de Quevedo, trans. Gridley McKim-Smith, Examining Velazquez (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1988), 17. For the original Spanish, see Francisco de Quevedo, Obra completa, ed. Jose Manuel Blecua, 4 vols. (Madrid: Castalia, 1969-81), vol. 2, 403-4: "Silva al pincel--Y por ti el gran Velazquez ha podido / Diestro, cuanto ingenioso, / Ansi animar lo hermoso, / Ansi dar a lo morbido sentido / Con las manchas distantes; / Que son verdad en el, no semejantes."

(21.) Pacheco (as in n. 15), 202.

(22.) Palomino, vol. 1, 322-23, reveals something of how modestia should be understood in creative activity: "... pero desponjandonos de todo linaje de pasion, la modestia, siendo facultad de discretos, no nos prescribira leyes de tontos: la dificultad esta en deponer el propio amor" (... however, divesting ourselves of every sort of passion, modesty--being a faculty of discretos [those possessed of wit and ingenuity]--will guide us not into the ways of fools. The difficulty is in doing away with pride).

(23.) Enriqueta Harris, "The Cleaning of Velazquez's Lady with a Fan," Burlington Magazine 117 (1975): 316-19.

(24.) Lopez-Rey, 388.

(25.) Ingamells, 411 and n. 12.

(26.) Lilian Zirpolo, "Madre Jeronima de la Fuente and Lady with a Fan: Two Portraits by Velazquez Reexamined," Woman's Art Journal 15, no. 1 (1994): 16-21.

(27.) Memorial historico espanol, 289: "... y Diego Velazquez la esta retratando con el aire y traje de frances," quoted from correspondence between Jesuit priests in Madrid and Seville.

(28.) Harris (as in n. 23), 19.

(29.) Lopez-Rey, 388.

 
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